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Chemistry Overview

Chemists and material scientists study and analyze the basic materials of matter. To some degree, all science relies on chemistry. At Chatham, you will become familiar with many advanced pieces of equipment for chemical analysis, learning how to use computers to analyze chemical data and to create models of drug interaction. Beyond the lab, you will develop written and oral communication skills, critical thinking, and information literacy.
Degrees Offered
  • BA
  • BS
Program School

My goal with students is not to teach them everything they’ll ever need to know, but to teach them that learning is worth the effort. Whether learning a complex chemistry concept or the art of getting along with others, it’s learning and growing in one’s self that is important. By challenging students in and out of the classroom, I strive to help them achieve excellence in academics as well as a responsibility to the greater world in which they live.

— ROBERT LETTAN, Ph.D., Chair of the Science Department and associate professor of chemistry

Graphic of blue DNA strands

Faculty Insights with Chemistry Professor Robert Lettan

Dr. Lettan, chair of the science department and associate professor of chemistry, discusses his favorite courses to teach at Chatham, what he loves about teaching, and what inspires his instruction in the science fields.

Explore the Chemistry Degree:

Approved by the American Chemical Society, the curriculum includes intensive preparation for graduate study and careers in the chemical industry or governmental laboratories.

  • Students have opportunities to conduct research with peers and faculty, and have published and presented at conferences.
  • Students receiving BS degrees in chemistry are able to have their degrees certified as meeting the rigorous standards of the American Chemical Society. Fewer than 700 of the 5,000 American colleges and universities have achieved this privilege.
  • You can apply for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) positions, sponsored by the National Science Foundation or others. This program allows undergraduate students to participate in active research projects during the summer before their junior or senior year.
  • You can also leverage Pittsburgh’s tight-knit academic and medical community through connections our faculty has around the region.

Integrated Chemistry Laboratory

Experiments are selected to illustrate important principles of advanced experimental chemistry and to familiarize students with important experimental methods. The course is intended to encourage students to think critically about the reliability of their experimental results in the light of their previous chemistry experience. 

Environmental Chemistry

This course is an advanced study of the chemical principles underlying common environmental problems. It aims to deepen the student’s knowledge of chemistry and its role in the environment and shows the power of chemistry as a tool to help us comprehend the changing world around us.

Computational Drug Design

Study of computational techniques of importance in contemporary drug design. Topics include molecular docking, ligand binding free energy calculations, de novo drug design, pharmacophore elucidation, quantitative structure-activity relations, and combinatorial library design.

View Full Curriculum

Our Faculty

If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.

Full Faculty
Photo of Robert Lettan
Chair of the Science Department and Associate Professor of Chemistry
Photo of Michelle Doyle
Program Coordinator for the Physical Sciences, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Photo of Chatham University students working on laptops on couches and at tables in an academic building.

The Science Complex

The Science Complex is Chatham’s 10,000 square-foot laboratory building, which features a three-story glass atrium and a modern greenhouse in addition to individual, specialized research spaces; laboratories and classrooms; a range of modern analytical equipment including cell and tissue culture facilities; spectrometers (nuclear magnetic resonance, UV-VIS, IR); and one of the few drift tube mass spectrometers in the country.

Photo of a young woman with glasses, wearing a lab coat and blue latex gloves, poses for a photo while working in a lab


Through Chatham’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program, students can apply to participate in ten-week summer work-study programs to gain more laboratory experience prior to senior year.

Photo of Mellon Hall on Chatham University, surrounded by green academic quads and colorful fall foliage.


The Chatham chemistry program is accredited by the American Chemical Society (ACS), a sought-after designation that identifies high-quality academic programs across the nation. This means that Chatham students can receive ACS-certified degrees in chemistry and in biochemistry.

Photo of chemistry equipment (vials, beakers, other glass containers)

Alumni Graduate Programs

Students have been accepted to graduate programs including those found at University of Colorado, University of Virginia, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Washington.